With apologies to Jimmy Hart, the new Mouth of the South is the best one I've seen yet.
It's too early to anoint Sean Weatherspoon as the next great thing in Atlanta Falcons linebacking, but it's definitely not too soon to say he's a quality player. Through just three weeks, 'Spoon has made himself known to opposing offenses, posting 24 tackles and a sack, and he's generated good pressure and a couple of quarterback hits to go with that. In a stark contrast to our early expectations, he's also proven to not be totally useless in coverage, though it's definitely his biggest area in need of improvement going forward.
His numbers are good, if not overwhelming, but what strikes me most about Weatherspoon isn't what he's put up for stats. It's how natural he's looked as a rookie just a few short months removed from playing college football at Missouri.
We knew he was physically talented. The athleticism was never in doubt for 'Spoon, who may be our most gifted athlete on the defense. Given that our defense also features Brent Grimes, Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Babineaux and John Abraham, that's saying a lot.
What we didn't know was how he would adjust to the mental aspect of the game. Would he take bad angles, as he did at times during the pre-season? Would he be out of position, as he again was at times during the pre-season? Would he be able to keep his cool and make adjustments to the NFL game? Even the most optimistic among us probably didn't expect him to do so immediately, but that's more or less what he's done.
That's not to say 'Spoon isn't going to be a source of frustration at times. He's a rookie starting on a burgeoning defensive unit, and those coverage liabilities are going to be exposed by your talented tight ends (hello, Vernon Davis!) Despite that, he's flattening out his learning curve at a rate that should alarm offensive lines and running backs across the NFL. Dude's going to be a good one—and he might even be a great one.
Talk a little bit about 'Spoon and make a prediction for the Niners game. I'll spot him eight tackles, one sack of Alex Smith and a forced fumble.